LARAMIE -- Just under 100 miles separate the University of Wyoming and the University of Northern Colorado.

The close proximity of Laramie and Greeley, Colorado, will create a juiced-up atmosphere for the soccer match between the two schools Thursday at 4 p.m. at the Madrid Sports Complex.

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“In our mind, every game matters just as much as the next or the last, but there’s always matches that are going to be a little more emotionally charged than others,” UW head coach Colleen Corbin said. “When you’re playing teams in your region, there’s always kids that know each other and played with each other. There’s a little extra rivalry between them as peers and as friends, so I’m sure it will be more emotionally charged.”

A dozen Cowgirls hail from the state of Colorado, while 16 Bears call Colorado home. Those 28 and the rest of both teams’ rosters will play for the Front Range Derby trophy.

Emotions will run higher, and that’s likely unavoidable. What Corbin hopes is her team can build off the 3-1 win over Idaho State last week, which righted a ship that had gone astray for a couple games.

“It’s about trying to continue to fine tune some of the things we have been focusing on for the last few weeks, and trying to recreate and generate the same abundance of opportunities that we did against Idaho State,” Corbin said. “We created more chances against Idaho State than we have against any other program, so we are just trying to maintain that level of offensive threat and offensive pressure and not let the emotions of the match get in the way of that.”

Junior forward Faith Joiner had one of those scoring chances against the Bengals. She cashed in on it, collecting her team-leading third goal of the season.

Sophomore forward Alyssa Bedard has two scores on the season to go alongside her team-leading 18 shots. Redshirt-junior midfielder Jamie Tatum also boasts two goals.

Freshman forward Maddi Chance matches Bedard’s 18 shots and one of those has found the back of the net. Three other players, two of which are freshmen, have scored this season, as well.

Redshirt-junior goalkeeper Alex Daws has played every minute in net for the Cowgirls. She has registered 29 saves and has a GAA of 1.52.

Daws has also yet to allow more than one goal in any home game this season. That’s a big reason as to why Wyoming has won its first four home matches, the longest such streak since it won five home games in a row in 2017.

Northern Colorado owns a 1-5-2 record this season. The Bears began the season with a 3-1 victory over the Mountain West Conference’s Colorado College, but have fallen on tough luck since, losing their past three contests all by one goal.

Lexi Pulley paces UNC as the lone multi-goal scorer, racking up three scores this fall. Morgan Bury has started six of the seven games in goal, making 34 saves and having a GAA of 1.4.

The match against the Bears concludes the non-conference portion of Wyoming’s schedule. The Cowgirls open MWC play Sept. 24 at preseason-favorite New Mexico.

UW vs. NIU September 11, 2021

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